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David's diary: November 2003

Haven't written for a couple of days, but rest assured all is well, just been quite busy! Yesterday was a good end to the week, more or less finishing the fetch-execute sequence software - about a week ahead of schedule - and made still better by Katy's arrival at about six o'clock. She'd had a lousy journey up, taking almost three hours - twice as long as usual - but all was soon more or less forgotten with the help of some TLC and more than a little Chinese food from Tesco. Ignored any knocks at the front door for the early evening, before adjourning to Chris and Claire's, where Katy was again staying over. Everyone was pretty exhausted after a tiring week, so we were quite happy to flop down in front of K-19: The Widowmaker for a couple of hours before I drove home and left the others to find their beds. Today started reasonably bright and early, with a lovely fresh morning's walk by the river and up to the lake, starting from Chris and Claire's house. The weather forecast had been lousy, so that was a real bonus, and worked us up a good appetite for lunch at the Olde Swan, to celebrate Katy's forthcoming birthday. Then out for a little while longer to work off at least the cream from our (shared) dessert, and back to my flat for pressies, some more honeymoon brainstorming and the obligatory game of Scrabble - which Katy still won convincingly despite me using all my letters with "originate". I just have to accept that she's better than me, especially since she's now no doubt going to be using her shiny new Chambers dictionary for bedtime reading! However, Katy's gone now, and should be meeting up with her friend Cate at Heathrow any minute now, so I have the evening to myself - even if I am jumping about every ten seconds from the fireworks going off...

A quiet day today so far, predictably enough - and I got a proper lie-in for once - though I'll be going out in a couple of hours to hopefully get some fresh air with Sarah and anyone else willing to join us. I was planning on going to the Milton Keynes firework display this evening, but the weather's looking none too promising for standing in the mud and Sarah would really appreciate a lift to the worship meeting, so I suspect I'll be going to the latter instead even though I still believe it's sometimes a better witness to be demonstrably normal. We are, after all, called to be "in the world", if not "of the world" - even my old church got that bit sussed for one night a year. Hmm, sounds suspiciously like my soapbox is out, doesn't it? Hush now, David.

And hushed I duly was for almost a day and a half!

Yesterday worked out quite well, but wasn't entirely wonderful. Amazingly we managed to persuade both Rachael and Laura to come out with us, even if it did take a slight change of plan to secure Laura's participation. Well, Rachael's too I suppose, but some children had more choice in the matter than others. So we took a healthy stroll around the north lake at Caldecotte, even though it wasn't the lake Laura thought it was going to be, and Rachael still complained despite specifically asking. Perhaps the promise of hot chocolate at the end was what finally won the day, and I'm happy to say that promise was able to be delivered on, even if the afternoon didn't quite end entirely without tears.

We had tea back at Sarah's soon afterwards, which was generally not too fraught a time. Both Rachael and Laura were supposed to have been staying with friends for the night, to release Sarah to go out to the Exploring Worship gathering, but things didn't go entirely to plan in that regard - though thankfully not enough to totally scupper plans! Rachael was unwilling to go to her friend's house but of course ultimately had little choice in the matter, and Laura's friend had reportedly been naughty and wasn't allowed to have Laura over after all, but thankfully Laura is old enough and responsible enough to look after herself for a couple of hours so we did indeed make it along to the meeting.

The meeting took some finding, though. We were aware there had been a double booking of the preferred venue, but understood that it was happening nearby. However, there were no signs up or staff around to inform people of the change, and to rub salt into the wound it turned out that the event we'd double booked with had been cancelled! But we eventually found it in the campus gym, though we thought we must have been early because numbers were so low... And then the worship started, and it was more like a gig sound-check. Call me an old fart, but it was far too loud to "explore" worship, and I had to spend half the meeting outside in the end - albeit with Katy on the other end of the phone!

This was the first Exploring Worship meeting I'd been to, and I'm sorry to say it could well be the last. Not to say it was a complete waste of time, because I did manage to do some business with God, but it was not remotely a conducive environment for doing so. It's an exciting enough idea, but one that I didn't think delivered on the concept of exploring worship, which was what I for one needed last night. I was hoping for something that would be a bit more than just Sunday-morning style worship but too loud to think or talk, perhaps with activities genuinely exploring some of the other aspects of worship that we are continually reminded exist in addition to music, such as art, craft and poetry.

But enough ranting! Time to hush again, I guess...

No time to add anything much for the last couple of days, but I really ought to make the effort to squeeze in a quick "Happy birthday Katy", shouldn't I? By far the best justification yet to "remember remember the fifth of November"!

Finally, a chance to write, with my working week at an end and no other plans for the evening! It's been a hectic few days, in and out of various meetings, and trying hard to find time to actually work in-between-times. A couple of days ago I handed over a draft CD-R for the fetch-execute sequence software, and am now getting going with the software for a technology summer-school. But how much of that and other outstanding projects I will ever finish is in a little doubt, because today Lara advised me that they are indeed to make me a redundancy offer. To many, redundancy would be a major blow, but it's exactly what I've been holding out for, and for the last few weeks I've been trying to prove myself valuable enough that they care about paying me off nicely but not so indispensable that they couldn't let me go at all. I have still to find out the exact terms and their preferred timing, but all the indications are that the package is pretty much set in stone so I doubt I would have any reason to decline it. Suddenly, the future seems to take a lurch towards being much more tangible, and with that very much in mind, tomorrow our two sets of parents are meeting for lunch with us at a nice Thames-side pub. Although I have stayed with Katy's parents many times and Katy with mine a few times - and everyone has got on very well on every occasion - this will be the first time they will have met each other, and I have to say I'm a little apprehensive. Not that I doubt for a moment that they will get on well, but it's still going to be interesting - indeed I almost wonder if they'll get on embarrassingly well and if Katy and I will need to slope off and leave them to it for a while...

But now I'm enjoying a nice quiet evening with very little to do, so perhaps I might actually manage an early night for once and be bright and fresh tomorrow!

Busy-busy-busy weekend - and there's still a day of it to go, amazingly! That must have had something to do with taking the day off work yesterday for that big parental get-together, I guess! The day went thoroughly splendidly, as I had anticipated, with everyone getting on absolutely brilliantly - well, like it or lump it, they're going to be related in eight months' time so that was just as well really! We had a fab lunch at the Flowerpot at Aston, just south of the Thames between Henley and Marlow, and the weather was glorious so we were all very happy to go for a healthy stroll down to Hambleden Lock. The icing on the cake was that Katy's ring arrived at the jeweller in the morning, so I had the privilege of finally adorning her finger with it in the presence of our parents. What with the redundancy thing on Thursday, everything just seems so much closer and more tangible now. Yes, getting engaged was a big step in making things more than just hypothetical, but in many ways it seemed that the future was still hard to grasp, but it's all becoming reality now, and a month on from our announcement, things seem better than ever. That's not to say I never ponder what on earth I've agreed to do - that's only human, I think - but overall this just feels so right, and other things seem to be working to help, which is a total encouragement! Yes, there are going to be upheavals to come over the next few months - and some will be painful I suspect - but I have such a peace in knowing that Katy is the one God's lined up for me and that even things beyond our immediate control seem to be working in our favour.

But now it's Saturday and I'm back home and on my own, but still very happy indeed! Jill and Becca wondered last night if - given the arrival of the ring - yesterday was our official engagement day. It wasn't. That was over a month ago, and always will be - even if my memory is shaky - but yesterday was indeed a significant step on our journey and one I hope we will always remember!

I'm currently enjoying a glass or three of rather pleasant budget tempranillo from Tesco. It's part of their "Simply" range. Does that make it Simply Red?

Still alive, happily to say; things are just a bit hectic and I have only a few minutes to spare even now before I have to go out again for the evening - and I hope you will all understand that chatting with Katy for three quarters of an hour had to take priority. Oh, even less minutes to spare now than I thought - better get my coat on and go out, hadn't I? Night night for now, everyone!

Dull day, salvaged by a leaving do for one of my colleagues at lunchtime - with the management paying the bar tab - and a good chat on the phone with Katy this evening before she went round to visit a friend. I'm hoping for an early night tonight, so this will be about the last thing I do before I run myself a bath!

Work's annoying me, and if this is the shape of things to come I can't say I'm sorry to be getting out, even if the precise terms of my departure are yet to be announced. My current project is a rush job to convert an "audio-visual sequence" - actually a cassette tape that students play while reading their text book - from a 1993 course into exciting modern whizz-bang multimedia. In about a fortnight, flat. Now, magnetism is quite an interesting thing to teach with the help of modern computers, with the ability to let students play around with current-carrying wires and dipoles and watch how the magnetic fields are affected, and so on. But not in about a fortnight. In actual fact I have been through the 1993 exercise a couple of times now, and have to say that - even with my degree-level electrical engineering background - it meant practically nothing to me, served primarily to confuse, and was of overall practically nil pedagogic value. But I hardly dare tell anyone that because I'm just a lowly programmer - even though my job description includes academic input.

Then I have what should be a fairly trivial application to write, to take some input values relating to the construction of a spring-powered "dragster", do a few calculations and display some tabulated results and graphs. No problem, I doubt, and hopefully only a couple of days' work, but this would have been an ideal project to develop a reusable framework for to do that kind of stuff - and help do away with the spreadsheets which are so beloved of all too many of the technology faculty course teams. With there being a notional push towards reuse and generic solutions to save money, that's just the kind of thing we should be investing effort in, but once again the deadlines are too short, the specification has been agreed without consultation and wheels will continue to be reinvented - and experience with the Java questions framework as mentioned last month would tend to indicate it's all a load of talk and no action.

It's the lack of imagination and vision that does my head in most. There's one course I am working on - when I get the chance! - that I would say is making good use of the medium and is not having to be a rushed bodge-job. That's not to say it's not loaded with numerous problems of its own, but they are somehow worth suffering, and students shouldn't feel aggrieved at having to acquire a computer in order to study it. The same cannot be said for most of the sows' ears I've been forced to make silk purses out over the last couple of years.

But perhaps it won't be my problem for a great deal longer, and perhaps I can then stow my soap-box away. For now though, a nice hot bath will have to do.

Well I decided yesterday that I would give up on the magnetism software - well, doing it in Java, that is. Not because Java was a bad choice of language for the software in question, but because the course team wanted it consistent with another piece of software they are plundering, and I was expending undue effort on look-and-feel versus actual content. By doing it in Flash, I can borrow large parts of Lynn's existing design. The graphic designers are a bit happier as a result - since they can contribute more substantially - although Javid's Flash skills are somewhat rusty, and Howie says he's only had about two hours' experience so doesn't feel very confident. I pointed out that that was two hours' more experience than I have... Of course, today I have been discovering all too plainly why Flash desperately needs a serious competitor. The official Macromedia development tool is dire, indeed in quite a few respects entirely insane. I cannot think of any other system where a filled circle is treated as two by-default unlinked objects - its outline and its filling. Nor one where drawing a line across a shape will split it into two unlinked objects. Believe me, I would far rather still be doing this in Java, but sometimes I need to be pragmatic about these things. The software will still be rubbish, but at least it will be consistent rubbish, which should fulfil the design brief just fine.

At least I got a bit more of the microprocessor stuff done while I was waiting to see Lynn and for Ian to - no doubt thoroughly illegally - give me access to the Flash development tools. That still has a way to go, but it's not being released to students until 2005, although every bit of time I can put in helps no end with Mirabelle and her colleagues' writing of the course itself.

Katy's not too well today though, so my email inbox has been languishing a bit, apart from a few predictable bits of spam. But I phoned her at home before I went to lunch and again this evening when I got in from work, and I plan to do so again once I have watched a DVD Sam's lent me. Hopefully Katy will be fit to return to work tomorrow, not least because hopefully she can then be fit to receive me at the weekend - especially since we're planning a few fun things with friends. But obviously also of course because I just hope she gets better simply because I love her and don't like seeing her being ill and unhappy!

Today was ... umm, Friday. And it largely did what vacuum cleaners do. Work was interesting, I suppose, meeting with Javid and Howie to decide who's doing what towards this software - that the academic author is under some strange impression is going to be finished on Tuesday. We might have started it by then I guess! That's what comes of some fool deciding that we could produce five pieces of software in 25 hours, and dumb management scheduling resources accordingly. Still, it's the weekend now and I really don't give a monkeys.

Katy's still not well. In fact she's worse today than she was yesterday, but she is insistent that I come down tomorrow as planned, and that is of course no problem at all. I guess "in sickness and in health" is a principle that need not start as late as next June, though I clearly hope that the health bit wins out as soon as possible! Actually, I say "tomorrow" but I technically lie - though Katy's not demanding I am down for lunchtime so I should be able to get a reasonable lie-in, and I definitely need one after this evening's fun...

Yes, this evening we managed to reclaim the Puddleducks quiz title! We won and successfully defended it in 1999, but narrowly lost once while I was on the team and lost again at least once since. But we claimed it back this evening, in an atmosphere of utter humility. OK, so I'm fibbing about the humility, but with Martin and Paul on our team, that was never likely to happen. Excellent fun though as always, and all in aid of a good cause - the children's Christmas party at Puddleducks - and I took home a bottle of plonk for my paltry efforts.

Right, it's Saturday morning and I've had my lie-in and a nice bath, so just a few things to pack, a quick phone-call to make, and I can be on my way. I'll frankly be very glad of the change of scene for a couple of days, regardless of how enthusiastic - or, more realistically, not - Katy may be for doing anything much more than flopping in front of the television! And I get to see Katy too!

Back in Milton Keynes, after a slightly shorter weekend away than usual, due to Katy really not being at her best and seriously needing some rest. It's been a good weekend nevertheless, enjoying a short stroll from the Shepherd and Flock yesterday afternoon, watching Chocolat and going for tea with Simon, Becki and Cate in the evening, and having lunch with Geraldine and Michael after church today - as well as catching some of England's victorious rugby semi-final, albeit video-recorded. But Katy's not been at all well, I'm afraid to say, so we quite consciously didn't overdo things, and I could probably do with an early night tonight anyway! Tomorrow I will have to switch myself back on to matters work-related, and I hope Javid will be able to make it to the Monday Morning Meeting because we need to make sure there is total clarity with the state of play on the magnetism tutorial software we're working on with Howie.

Katy's off work again today, but thankfully I managed to sneak in a quick call to her this afternoon - and I hope she had her cordless phone next to the bed! In what I hope is sheer coincidence, this afternoon I've been developing quite a bit of pain in my left wrist and along the side of my hand to the base of my little finger, such that it's not comfortable for me to wear my watch nor for any clothing to touch it. In fact it seems to be getting worse by the minute, so it's just as well the working day's got only about half an hour to go, or I might not have been able to keep going. Javid was off sick today so wasn't able to back me up at this morning's team meeting after all, but thankfully Lara agreed that the academic was being a bit wishful in thinking he would be getting his software tomorrow, and she's quite happy that the design guys and I now have a plan of attack and that it looks likely they will be doing most of the work and not me. I will have to do a bit of programming and some collating of stuff I suspect, but the job is ninety percent graphic design, and funnily enough Javid and Howie have the professional skills in that area, not me!

I've applied a bit of tea-tree oil this evening and my wrist and hand feel a bit better. When I phoned her earlier Katy was feeling a bit perkier for having had some tea, so hopefully that will last and she can be back on her feet properly again before we know it! Going to aim for a slightly earlier night tonight; my best intentions last night were thwarted by the book I'm reading, and unusually getting well into. It's Executive Action, by Richard Doyle, all about a closely contested American presidential election where the president-elect is switched with an evil look-alike and dumped in the sea off the Florida coast. All decidedly nonsensical but fun and quite compelling nonetheless, and it's good to be able to enjoy reading fiction again after such a long break! Just wish they'd dumped Mr Bush like that sometimes; whoever they had switched him with really couldn't have been any worse, right..?

Work's been pretty mundane but I managed to concentrate on the microprocessor simulation - or "simulated processor" as it is now to be known - and don't have a lot more to do on that hopefully. Well, there are a few oddities that are more likely bugs in Java than my own code, and that although a little worrying there may be little or nothing I can realistically do to resolve. Hmm, sounds familiar, doesn't it? Still, the software's not going live for well over a year, and I'm sure there will have been several new versions of Java before then - hopefully not uncovering too many new bugs, needless to say... Katy is still decidedly unwell and has today been signed off sick for the rest of the week. Our plans for the coming weekend are consequently looking decidedly shaky, but we can only really take things as they come, and hope and pray that whatever the problem is passes quickly and decisively. Anyway, for several consecutive nights now I've planned to get to bed early and it's simply not happened for one reason or another, but - aside from perhaps reading another couple of chapters of my book - I intend to do so for real tonight. 'Night!

Forty-one guns, and they all missed! How useless is that?!

I'm not going to rant further about Mr Bush's visit, except to say "go home".

Jam wasn't well this evening so there was no Open House, but since I was going to give Sarah a lift there, she suggested I popped round anyway. She's got a job interview tomorrow, so was pleased to get some moral support for that and some suggestions of things she might ask them if she gets the opportunity.

Katy's still not well either, needless to say, but at least she's getting some rest this week now. I'd like to see her at the weekend of course, but it may well be that playing it safe for a few more days will be the best thing - and it wouldn't be too good if she blew her recuperation by overdoing things!

Anyway, another earlyish night is in order methinks, so see y'all tomorrow, OK?

Been a day of meetings so far, but nothing too awful.

The first one was with regard to the problematic Java questions stuff from a few weeks back. Lara had called yesterday afternoon to let me know that it didn't take very thorough testing by Roger in QA to highlight some serious issues particularly with the Java - as if we didn't know already - so this morning we got together with the principal academic involved. As a result of that we have agreed to shelve the software for the time being. For exactly how long will depend on whether the LTS project board pull their fingers out and approve funding for redeveloping the antiquated Java framework I was encouraged to commit myself to using. I very much doubt anything much will happen before whatever date I eventually negotiate to get out of here, so I would say it's fairly likely that I won't have a great deal to do with that from now on - and I can't pretend that exactly disappoints me, conscientious old soul that I am.

Then on to a meeting of all the technology software designers and our project managers to discuss and draw short straws for up-coming projects. Not a great deal to report back from there, really, and of course nothing substantially new came my way. I thought Lara was going to announce my impending departure, at one point, but perhaps those who need to know at this time already do. Finally - or at least so far today - another meeting with Lara to follow up the first meeting in particular and also to confirm the state of play with the other stuff I'm currently doing, which is generally progressing quite reasonably.

Anyway, perhaps I can actually do some proper work in the last couple of hours?

Well I tried, but generally went round in circles and didn't end up with a lot to show for the day, programming-wise. But every little counts, I guess! This evening I've mainly spent on the phone with Katy, cooking tea - soon to be ready, and eaten with extreme pleasure - and composing what I hope will be the last letter I need to write to those incompetents at Boncaster. Once again, not anticipating a late night, and I might even get to finish reading my book!

Started watching Brazil, which Tim's lent me on DVD. Have to say it's all just a little too strange for my liking - and that's saying something, perhaps. I'm sure I will finish it soon, but fifty minutes was about as much as I could bear right now. Talking of DVDs, today was reasonably productive at work, managing to persuade DVD content to play back in a web browser window. All for a good reason, of course - well, except that the disc that will eventually be created doesn't remotely justify the capacity of a DVD over and above a CD-ROM, but there is apparently political pressure to push towards DVD within the faculty.

But right now I can think of no better way to round off this week than with a nice long bath - and almost certainly really and truly finishing that book!

It's the bleakest, dampest and most generally miserable day I can remember for months, and glad I'm not planning on going anywhere much! I've been out to the post office to send that letter to the insurance company, but that's been it so far - and frankly I'll be perfectly happy staying inside, in the warm, now. I just a few minutes ago finished watching Brazil, and I can happily say the film improved as it went on and rewarded perseverance, though still overall rates as "definitely strange", but that's perhaps to be expected from Terry Gilliam...

Katy rightly encouraged me to go out for a walk, so I wrapped up warm and dry and braved the elements to stroll down to and round Caldecotte Lake. Yes, it was dark and I couldn't always see where I was going, but it was indeed good to get out even if I'd have liked Katy for company - and not just to hold my hand when it got tricky! Anyway, quite a busy Sunday coming up tomorrow, so going to call it a night for now, via a nice long bath and the novel of Enigma...

I think the police helicopter has stopped circling the estate now. Perhaps I might be able to go to bed and get some sleep in relative peace now?

Yes, quite a busy day, but thankfully I found a few minutes amongst it all to talk with Katy, who I'd really much rather have been with. Well most of the day was OK I guess - church in the morning, lunch at Sarah's, helping install a freezer there, looking after Rachael for the afternoon, then back to Sarah's for tea - but the evening was dreadful. Very rarely have I had to cut short a conversation with Katy because of goings-on, but this was by far the worst ever - with Sarah herself bearing the brunt of much of it - and I made it very clear that if it happened again there would be hell to pay. Thankfully, I don't think Laura or Rachael eventually went to bed in tears, even if it was a close run thing. Still a shame an otherwise good day had to end on such a sour note.

Not my problem, in theory. And won't be in practice either for much longer!

Not that I wish to desert my friends of course, but I've been guilty far too much in the past of putting others before myself - and it's done me a mischief on a few occasions when the reality of my own neglect has come to a head.

Katy's still not well, and the doctor has signed her off for a few more days - which, barring miraculous healing, I was hoping would be the case - but we had a good chat this evening, and I sensed perhaps slightly restored energy on her part. Hopefully she'll be well enough that I might visit this coming weekend; she was hoping to come up here next, but travelling isn't going to do me in...

Today's been OK at work, getting a reasonable amount more done of the simulated processor, leaving just a few annoying issues to sort out - not least of which is the printing, which I did in a slightly fudged and old-fashioned way before, which Mirabelle picked up on. So long as Sam - who knows about these things - doesn't get too exasperated with me, that shouldn't be too big a deal, but it's still an unknown, and I'd like to be productive for my last few months there!

Speaking of which, still nothing official heard about my redundancy, subsequent to the agreement in principle I was advised of a little over two weeks back. I emailed Lara late this afternoon querying who I should prod in order to find out more; hopefully she will reply tomorrow and I can restart those wheels that were previously in such encouraging motion. It's strange knowing I'm leaving soon, but it's a happy and positive move, with no serious regrets - and I still rememeber the words of my former colleague John, advising me not to stay for longer than about two years. I stayed for seven, but I can see the light now!

Not the best of days, it has to be said. Work was reasonably fine as far as it went, writing a web-browser-based DVD playback interface, but these are testing times in other ways. I get a horrible feeling that I may have been fed rather too optimistic rumours about my voluntary redundancy - not that I've heard that it's not happening, but it seems that perhaps Lara was a bit hasty in advising me it had been approved and that I just had to wait for the relevant paperwork. Add to that Katy's continued poor health and some employment-related worries of her own, and it altogether seems like someone's trying to put a spanner in the works. Of course, we have absolutely no intention of giving up now, but this is unknown territory for us both in many ways. In particular for me, it is the unfamiliar concept of a partner who wants to share the times of hardship rather than shut herself away and me out, and I don't always know how to respond. But thankfully Katy understands that and it's all a bit of a new thing for her too, so I can stop worrying - but not having seen her for over a week is taking its toll too, and is almost certainly contributing to my current run down state.

Bit better day all round today, apart from hearing that Katy if anything feels even worse - but she seems pretty determined that I should visit this weekend, and I have to say the feeling is mutual though I have no wish to push her into doing anything more than she feels able. But we're apparently taking her mum and dad out for lunch on Sunday, so that pretty much seals it, doesn't it?!

Work was fairly good today, working on the printing routines for the simulated processor thing. I was using Java's old way of printing, but that has now been superseded and substantially improved, and Mirabelle had flagged up a few nasty problems so it was a good opportunity to revisit - and as it turned out, pretty much completely rewrite - the code. There is still potential for a little more improvement, but given my pressures I think I shall wait for Mirabelle to ask!

Things seem a bit clearer perhaps regarding my voluntary redundancy. Yes, Lara admits she was over-hasty in what she had told me a couple of weeks back, but she remains reasonably confident that it is just a matter of time before it is formally approved. Apparently the operational case has been made, but now the middle management need to convince the senior management - who care only about money - of the financial benefit of getting rid of me, and that is what they are supposedly working on at the moment. But to add to the complication, one of the middle managers involved has just lost his mother, so I'm obviously not going to be pressing for a result too quickly, though I'd still like to know!

Anyway, had another quiet evening spent mainly in the bath and on the phone, and am aiming for another reasonably early night - on which note, goodnight!

Sorry for my silence, it's just been a really busy last couple of days! But the week's almost done with, and the plan's still on to go and visit Katy this weekend, so she at least can make up for lost time a little. Given her health, we have no wild plans, but just spending some quality time together - and not to forget that Sunday lunch out with her parents - will be thoroughly worth it.

The great news today is that I think this iteration of the simulated processor is basically complete, bar actually cutting a CD-R for Mirabelle to ritually slaughter... I'm sure she will slaughter it, or at least find a hundred and one things she's changed her mind about, but knowing her she'll love it too, and hopefully most importantly of all it will be in a suitable state that she can press ahead with writing the course material that so closely ties into it!

Last night was quite interesting, with a special event instead of our Open House group meetings this week. It was hosted by a group from Aylesbury Vineyard, all about the happenings at the Synagogue Church of all Nations in Lagos, Nigeria, where some pretty amazing healing goes on. Amongst other things, up to about fifty HIV sufferers are documented as healed every week, such that the church has received official recognition by the United Nations for their work. In the video that formed a large part of last night's talk, we witnessed people being healed of multiple sclerosis, cancer and other diseases, as well as a man basically being raised from the dead after resuscitation had failed. It all went on a bit longer than it needed to have done, though, and Sarah had no choice but to bring Rachael, so we were conscious of it dragging somewhat - but it was still well worth having gone along to, and we could hardly complain given that we were up well after midnight playing Bookworm...

Now safely back from Katy's, and didn't quite have the relaxing evening I'd sort of hoped for, but that's just part and parcel of being me. Despite Katy's continuing distinct unwellness we enjoyed a good weekend together, though obviously didn't do a lot that was terribly active! In fact, the most active thing we did was probably a quick stroll round the block just after I arrived, which I was just as happy to curtail as Katy, thanks to the increasing drizzle. Otherwise, played a couple of games of Scrabble - lost one, won one, the former with decidedly impressive scores for both of us - watched Bridget Jones's Diary, went to church, took Katy's parents out for lunch and provisionally hired a marquee for June. Church was interesting, with Simon giving a talk about his recent visit to the Occupied Territories. We'd had a taster a few weeks ago when we went round for tea, but this time it was the full-on Powerpoint presentation - even if the video clips didn't work - and I think everyone present was pretty moved by what Simon had to report, free from the sanitisation imposed by most of the western media. It's also good to have got that marquee arranged, as one of the only things that needs to be done well ahead of time. Well, it's not totally done and dusted, but Katy's parents have arranged for the hire company to survey the intended venue this week, so we should be pretty clear one way or the other within the next few days!

As for this evening, well soon after I got home, Sarah phoned asking if I would be prepared to help out a disabled lady from the church who had got confused over meeting dates and struggled to the Woughton leisure centre for a meeting that's not 'til next week... Yes, of course I could, and agreed to drop in on Sarah on the way home again, and obviously there's no such thing as a quick cup of coffee where some people are concerned! So now it's pushing midnight and I really ought to be contemplating bed if I am to be fully awake for the glorious Monday Morning Meeting tomorrow - when at least I shall be able to report back positively about status of the simulated processor software, hip hip hooray!

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